Local Atlanta news

A woman walks into a Georgia Department of Labor career center, Friday, Sept. 19, 2014, in Atlanta.
David Goldman / Associated Press

Job seekers in the capital of the Peach State are having luck finding a place to pick up a paycheck.

The unemployment rate in metro Atlanta for July was 5.1 percent, according to the Georgia Department of Labor.

That's down .2 points from June and nearly a full point from July 2015.

The data shows more than 31,000 people returned to Atlanta's workforce last year.

"Individuals out there are being encouraged by what they're seeing in the job market and they're turning back to the job search," said Labor Commissioner Mark Butler.

Alison Guillory / WABE

If you have trouble hearing announcements by MARTA train conductors, you're not alone.

MARTA plans to spend $40 million to install 300 new display boards, add 500 more speakers and replace 4,000 older speakers to address complaints about its audiovisual system.

The new signs, which will double the number it currently has, will be larger than the current signs. And instead of a black backdrop, the signs will look like TV screens with ads, stock information, news and other updates.

Alex Brandon, File / Associated Press

Federal health officials are downplaying concerns of higher costs and less choice on the Obamacare insurance exchanges next year, including in Georgia.

A report from the U.S. Department Health and Human Services released Wednesday said even if all premiums increase in Georgia by 50 percent next year, around 79 percent of consumers would still pay $75 or less each month for coverage.

David Goldman / Associated Press

A divided federal appeals court in Atlanta has ruled against an inmate on Georgia's death row, prompting one dissenting judge to say she feared the decision will make it more difficult for death-row inmates to successfully challenge convictions and sentences.

Lawyers for condemned inmate Marion Wilson and the Georgia Attorney General both told the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that it should look at lengthy, detailed rulings by lower court judges when deciding merits of an inmate's appeal.

Bob Leverone / associated press file

An American woman treated for the Ebola virus at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta plans to speak to new nursing students there this week.

Nancy Writebol will share her experiences working with a missionary group in Liberia and being treated at Emory. Emory University's School of Nursing Dean Linda McCauley says Friday's convocation welcomes incoming nursing students and faculty to the campus in Atlanta.

Stephannie Stokes / WABE

A civil rights group is continuing its call for Newton County to end a moratorium on new religious buildings.


Edward Mitchell, executive director of the Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations or CAIR, stood with religious leaders and social justice activists Tuesday to condemn the moratorium.


It blocks the construction of any new religious buildings in the county for five weeks.


Courtesy of The Atlanta Workforce Development Agency


Another person has thrown his hat into the race to be Kasim Reed's successor.

Michael Sterling is the latest person to announce he's running to be the mayor of Atlanta.

The 34-year-old who previously led the Atlanta Workforce Development Agency made it official with a Twitter message Tuesday.

A sign marks the entrance to a gender neutral restroom at the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vt., Thursday, Aug. 23, 2007.
Toby Talbot / Associated Press


Georgians are expressing mixed reactions on a judge's order this week to block President Barack Obama's guidelines on which bathrooms transgender students can use in schools.

An aerial rendering of the Edgewood-Candler Park transit-oriented development. It will include apartments, restaurants, retail and a performance hall.
Courtesy of Columbia Ventures LLC

MARTA broke ground on the first of six "transit-oriented developments" at its Edgewood-Candler Park MARTA station Monday.

A private developer, Columbia Ventures LLC, is building the $40 million project at no cost to MARTA.

The development, called “Spoke”, includes a 224-unit apartment complex, park, restaurant and performing arts center.

Eric Kronberg has lived in Edgewood since 1999 and has been working with neighbors on a vision to redevelop the area for over a decade.

John Bazemore / Associated Press

Oh baby, baby! Atlanta's zoo says its giant panda is expecting her second set of twins.

Zoo Atlanta said in a news release Tuesday that its veterinary team obtained an ultrasound image from Lun Lun confirming the presence of a second fetus.

Lun Lun, who turns 19 on Thursday, was artificially inseminated in March. Her pregnancy was confirmed Aug. 16.

The zoo says round-the-clock birth watch began Tuesday but there is no certainty of impending births as fetal resorption is not uncommon in giant pandas.

Hemy Zvi Neuman is escorted into court to be arraigned on murder charges Jan. 5, 2011, in DeKalb, Georgia. Neuman was arrested and charged in the fatal shooting of a businessman who was killed in the parking lot of a Dunwoody preschool minutes after he dr
David Goldman / Associated Press

Updated at 3:21 p.m. Tuesday


A man convicted of killing another man outside a suburban Atlanta preschool was sentenced at retrial to life in prison without parole.

Marcus Garner of the DeKalb County Prosecutor's Office says Hemy Neuman was convicted Tuesday of malice murder and possession of a firearm while committing a felony. Neuman also was sentenced five years, to run consecutively, on the gun charge.

Students at Kennesaw State University will be able to major in Asian Studies starting in the Fall of 2016.  It's the first Asian Studies bachelor’s degree program in the University System of Georgia.
Courtesy of Kennesaw State University / Courtesy of Kennesaw State University

A Kennesaw State University employee is suing the school and the state university system, saying she was forced to help the university's former dining director get kickbacks from vendors.

Tracy Nunn worked for Gary Coltek, who's now under investigation for allegedly taking money from food service companies to ensure they got contracts with KSU.

Nunn says Coltek forced her to participate in facilitating the deals.   

David Goldman / Associated Press

A warning light indicating a possible mechanical problem forced a Delta flight from Norfolk, Virginia, to Atlanta to briefly divert to Myrtle Beach.

Michael Thomas of Delta says that the Monday morning flight diverted when a warning indicated a possible issue with the aircraft's auxiliary power system.

The plane carrying 160 passengers and six crew members landed at Myrtle Beach International Airport about 8 a.m. Monday.

The aircraft was checked out by ground mechanics and, after a short delay, resumed its flight to Atlanta.

Stephannie Stokes / WABE

A coalition of union and community activists are trying to get voters to say "No" to Gov. Nathan Deal's school takeover plan.

The plan will appear as a ballot measure this November. If approved, it would create an “Opportunity School District,” which would allow the state to manage underperforming schools.

About 100 protesters showed up Monday at Liberty Plaza to oppose the measure. Most were from the national union, Communication Workers of America, whose members are in town for a conference.

Johnny Kauffman / WABE

Hundreds were at a Monday night meeting in Newton County about a proposed Muslim worship center and burial facility there.

The historic Covington Courthouse was packed for two back-to-back meetings.

Most were opposed to the purchase of 135 acres along Highway 162 by a mostly Bangladeshi mosque based in Doraville.

When Newton County resident Edmond Hall took to the podium he called the people gathered the “silent majority.”

Then he spoke about the proposed facility.   

Authorities have announced the arrest of a man accused of causing Saturday's multi-vehicle crash that killed a teenager from Locust Grove High School.

Daniel Crane, a tractor-trailer driver from New Mexico, is facing numerous charges, including second-degree vehicular homicide.

Henry County police say Crane's truck struck the back of Summer Lee's car on I-75 and pushed it into a couple of other vehicles.

Eighteen-year-old Lee was killed. Seven others were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.

Stephannie Stokes / WABE

Omar Zaki stands next to a sign on Woodbine Avenue on the border of the Edgewood and Kirkwood neighborhoods.

"You can see this is where it ends," said Zaki, who's part of the Organized Neighbors of Edgewood.

The sign marks the end of the Trolley Line Trail, a path that was built more than 20 years ago, before the Olympics. It follows the old streetcar route through Kirkwood.

It was supposed to continue into Edgewood, Zaki's neighborhood, and then Reynoldstown, but funding issues kept that construction from happening.

Now, though, it could.

The HealthCare.gov website, where people can buy health insurance, is displayed on a laptop screen in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015.
Andrew Harnik / Associated Press

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia is considering raising the rate for people who get their health insurance from the company through the Obamacare exchange.

This comes days after Aetna released a statement saying it couldn't afford to stay on the Georgia exchange. 

Aetna's exit means roughly 90,000 Georgians will have to look for new coverage this fall. Blue Cross is expected to pick up many of those Aetna members.

Carrie Antlfinger / associated press file

A group in Savannah is moving forward with plans to develop a community of tiny houses for homeless veterans and other homeless people.

The City Council recently approved a zoning change allowing the Chatham-Savannah Authority for the Homeless to move forward with the plans, The Savannah Morning News reported.

The community, named the Cove at Dundee, is expected to eventually include up to about 70 of the tiny homes, the newspaper reported.

After two years and 10 months, 93-year-old Ernie Andrus has made it across America.

The World War II veteran dipped his toes in the Atlantic Ocean on Saturday morning, ending a cross-country run that started in San Diego.

Local media reported that Andrus was surrounded by hundreds of people including family members and friends who have joined him at different parts along his journey.

Family and friends are mourning the loss of Summer Lee, an 18-year-old who died in a major accident on I-75.

Authorities say Lee was heading to a babysitting job Saturday when she got caught in the nine-vehicle accident near Exit 218.

According to police, a tractor-trailer overturned and caught fire leading to the pile-up.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports four other people were hospitalized with injuries.

The lanes on I-75 were shut down for about four hours.

On Saturday night, a vigil for Lee was held at Locust Grove High School.

Chandler Johnston


The city of Atlanta is looking for a new agency to enforce parking regulations because many people don’t like how PARKAtlanta has been doing the job. One complaint about the company has been that it "boots" too many vehicles. That means locking the wheel of a car until the driver pays a fine.

What people don't seem to understand is PARKAtlanta doesn’t do it much. Most vehicle immobilization in the city is privately done on private property.

The City Of Atlanta’s Role

In this "Medical Minute" segment, WABE senior reporter Jim Burress and medical analyst Dr. Ford Vox discuss the most common cause of knee injury in middle aged folks: meniscus tears. The typical surgical response, an arthroscopic partial meniscectomy, doesn’t appear to be any better than a regular exercise program for most people.


Jamarion Robinson was 26 when he was fatally shot in East Point. A private investigator who says he found evidence left at the crime scene including two projectiles fired from guns and blood on the walls suggesting he was dragged down the stairs.
Courtesy of Monteria Robinson

The family of 26-year-old Jamarion Robinson is calling for the FBI to investigate his death.

Robinson’s family hired a private investigator who has said he found evidence left at the crime scene including two projectiles fired from guns and blood on the walls suggesting he was dragged down the stairs.

Robinson was being served an arrest warrant in East Point when he was fatally shot by U.S. Marshals on Aug. 5.

Federal officials are objecting to a Georgia city's policy that jailed a man for six days on a misdemeanor charge because he couldn't afford $160 bail.

The Justice Department wants a federal appeals court to find Calhoun's policy unconstitutional.

Maurice Walker is suing the city following his September arrest on a charge of walking while intoxicated. Walker says he was too poor to pay the city's preset bail of $160 to avoid jail. His federal lawsuit says the policy violated his equal protection rights.

The 9-foot statue of Warren Spahn, designed by sculptor Shan Gray, was unveiled at Monument Grove, adjacent to the Grand Entry Plaza on the north side of Turner Field in 2003.
Wally Gobetz / flickr.com/wallyg

Some of those who live around Turner Field say they're feeling hopeful following the sale of the stadium to Georgia State University.

The $30 million deal between GSU and the Atlanta Fulton Recreation Authority became official yesterday.

Suzanne Mitchell, president of the Organized Neighbors of Summerhill, said she and her neighbors are pushing for an agreement between the community, Georgia State and the university’s partnering developers, Carter and Oakwood.

"I'm optimistic,” said Mitchell. “We're in conversation. We're going to get a strong agreement."

Kathryn Ingall/ The Marietta Daily Journal, Pool via AP

Jurors in the trial of a Georgia man accused of intentionally leaving his toddler son in a hot SUV to die will be allowed to see the Hyundai Tucson during the trial, a judge ruled Friday.

Justin Ross Harris faces charges including murder in the June 18, 2014, death of his 22-month-old son, Cooper. Police have said the boy died after spending about seven hours in the SUV on a day when Atlanta-area temperatures reached at least into the high 80s.

Roswell Police Department

A man accused of killing two teenagers near Atlanta is set to appear in court for a preliminary hearing.

Jeffrey Hazelwood is scheduled to appear Friday morning in Fulton County Magistrate Court.

The 20-year-old is charged with murder and theft in the killings of Carter Davis and Natalie Henderson in Roswell. The 17-year-olds were shot in the head. An autopsy report says their bodies were found behind a grocery store and had been placed in distinct poses.

Police have declined to discuss a possible motive for the slayings, or whether Hazelwood knew the teens.

John Bazemore / Associated Press

Zoo Atlanta officials believe the giant panda Lun Lun is pregnant.

The zoo said Thursday that veterinarians found an image of a fetus while performing an ultrasound Tuesday. The zoo expects Lun Lun to give birth in three weeks, but says there is a possibility the panda could miscarry.

Next week, animal management and veterinary teams will begin 24-hour monitoring of Lun Lun as she nests in her off-exhibit den.

Officials say giant pandas represent Zoo Atlanta's most significant financial investment.

In the midst of a presidential campaign full of harsh rhetoric about Muslims, the Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is actively seeking out conservative and Republican groups in an effort to share facts about Islam and answer questions about the faith. 

“Usually, what happens is we wait for them to come to us,” said Edward Ahmed Mitchell, the Georgia CAIR executive director, “or they might say something negative about Muslims and then we contact them.”